More Dutch kids left abroad by parents

(Photo: Ranveig/Dodo / Wikimedia Commons). ((Photo: Ranveig/Dodo / Wikimedia Commons))

The number of reports about children from the Netherlands left behind abroad by their parents increased over the past years, according to the national hotline for forced marriages and abandonment LKHA. Most victims are taken to the country of their parents' origin during the summer. And many are left without a passport, ANP reports.

This number has increased every year since the hotline was established in 2015. "In the first five months of this year it was already busier than other years, while the summer holiday hasn't even started yet", the organization said on Thursday. So far this year, the hotline received reports of 16 children abandoned abroad. Compared to a total of 30 last year, 26 in 2016 and 23 in 2015. Figures released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last month show that there were 45 cases of child abduction or abandonment abroad last year.

LKHA calls on teachers and mentors to keep an eye out for potential victims in the run up to the summer holidays. Important signals could include fear about going on holiday, or the announcement of a last minute visit to relatives abroad, according to the organization. "When it comes to suspicions, it is important not to inquire with the parents", LKHA stresses. "Children can be at risk if the family knows that possible abandonment was discussed with a teacher. They can best converse with the child themselves."

The LKHA is the contact point for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if victims of forced marriages or abandonment abroad need help. The organization verifies the report and supports victims in their return to the Netherlands.